Sylvester Kirk is dreaming of a tilt at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe after being left to wonder what might have been as Salouen made Cracksman fight all the way in the Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom.
The 33-1 outsider of six went down all guns blazing by a head to the brilliant Cracksman and Frankie Dettori – but at one stage looked like winning, leaving trainer Kirk with mixed feelings.
Kirk said: “I’m delighted with Salouen as we have seen him do what we think he was capable of. He jumped out in front and made the running and has just been beaten by a very good horse.
“Of course we are disappointed, but we would have been delighted with that result beforehand.
“I thought he was home and hosed. I don’t usually count my chickens, but I thought a furlong out he had won.
“He was the outsider of the race and he had won from the front before so we were happy to let him go and do it.
“We’ll sit back and find a little race for him before aiming for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.”
He added: “It’s a pleasure for a small yard like us to have a nice horse like him.
“Cracksman was laboured and looked to be under pressure from a long way out, so I thought Salouen was going to hang on – I’m very proud of the horse.
“It was a great race and I’m delighted we’ve come. He has been in plenty of Group One battles and it was lovely that he shows that he really does belong at that level.
“To be that close a second to Cracksman shows he is a serious horse, it is just fantastic. I thought we had won it for a moment. I am just thrilled for the owner and all the team at Cedar Lodge. The team have all worked so hard.
“We have always known he was good and he has shown us it today. Last year he nearly fell over in the Investec Derby.
“I think we have the Arc in mind for him and we will probably go with the same jockey (Silvestre de Sousa) as he rode fantastically well today.
“Salouen is a horse that loves going off in front, he is a fantastic mover and he loves going on the top of the ground. The ground today didn’t overly suit today but he is all heart and he puts it all in.
“It is almost a fairytale, but I am happy with second.”